Norwegian Getaway Crew Treads Water Off Cuba 22 Hours – In answer to the often posed question, “how long can you tread water?” Francis Rakochi Santiago, 33, who works as a Norwegian Getaway crew member, went overboard (see video below) around 3:20 p.m. Saturday, June 30, 2018, about 28 miles northwest of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, reportedly tread water for 22 hours.
Santiago went overboard the day before his birthday. The same day he went overboard, he posted on Facebook, “Lies spread so quickly. Don’t be so quick to believe what you hear. Lies spread quicker than the truth.”
On Sunday, 22 hours after the incident, a cabin steward from the Carnival Glory spotted the crew member in the water around 1:20 pm the next day.
Good weather and calm seas contributed the recovery of the missing crew member.
Carnival spokeswoman Ann Marie Matthews told The Associated Press the man did not have any safety device on when he was picked up by the Carnival Glory and they “can only surmise that he was likely treading water the entire time.”
Norwegian said in a statement that the Miami-based cruise line is “extremely thankful” to Carnival Cruise Line, also based in Miami. “We are so happy to know that the individual is safe and will soon be reunited with friends and family,” the Norwegian statement said.
“We slowed down, turned the ship around and maneuvered the Carnival Glory near where the person was in the water,” said Carnival Glory Captain Pero Grubješić.
Coast Guard launched assets including a Coast Guard Air Station MiamiHC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crews, an Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans crew search more than 1,630 square miles.
Norwegian Getaway embarked from Miami, Florida on Sunday June 24 for a 7-night Caribbean cruise. Norwegian Getaway made calls at Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico before returning to Miami on Sunday July 1.
Pinar del Río is a city on the west end of the Cuban island. Pinar del Río is the capital of Pinar del Río Province. With a city population of 139,336 (2004), in a municipality of 190,332, it is the 10th largest Cuban city. Inhabitants of the area are called Pinareños.
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Video: Cruise crewmember who went overboard near Cuba rescued